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Richard S. Russell: Don't take your voting rights for granted

Richard S. Russell: Don't take your voting rights for granted

Dear Editor: It’s hard to believe, but some people still think that their vote (the one and only influence they have on the government they’ll have to live under) isn't worth casting. Just as you never miss the water until the well runs dry, it’s good to remember that not everybody can take voting for granted — as in this story:

***

It was the first election of the post-apartheid era in South Africa, and the TV news crew was out in the boonies looking for good human interest stories. The government hadn’t been able to set up sufficient polling locations or staff them fully, so there was a long line stretching out of one rural poll into the dusty prairie beyond. The crew set out, walking toward the end of the line, looking for likely interviewees.

They spotted one old gent, dressed colorfully but leaning heavily on his cane, and asked him where he was from. It turned out that he lived about 20 klicks away and had left the previous night, walking and resting as he went, to get here. He was nowhere near the front of the line, and they said it looked like things were moving slowly.

“That’s all right,” he said. “I can wait.”

“How long have you been waiting already?” they asked.

“About 60 years.”

***

I always vote.

Richard S. Russell

Madison

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